Disciples Divinity House

of the University of Chicago

Exchange considers "Reformation and Improvisation"

September 10, 2016 —  

The second Disciples Divinity House -Theologisches Studienhaus (TSH) at Heidelberg University exchange met September 1-9 in Chicago around the theme, "Reformation and Improvisation - then and now." The first exchange/conference was held last summer in Heidelberg. Dean Culp, Trustees Paul Steinbrecher, Mareta Smith, and Michael Karunas, along with House Scholars Joel Brown, Jonathan Cahill, Douglas Collins, Judith Guy, Mark Lambert, and Virginia White hosted a group of students and association members from a sister institution at the University of Heidelberg, where Heike Springhart is the Director.

   Together they read Martin Luther and James Baldwin on freedom and love, talked with Professor Curtis Evans about religion and race in South Chicago, toured Chicago neighborhoods, and attended the Jazz Festival. They shared meals and worship, examined immigration and migration, crossed lines drawn by race and wealth, explored changing forms of hospitality and ministry.

   The conference was generously resourced by additional guests, including Divinity School professors Clark Gilpin and William Schweiker, who reflected on reformation and improvisation in relation to the Disciples of Christ and other US churches as "communities of persuasion." The delegations also met with four editors at the offices of The Christian Century magazine—Debra Bendis, Amy Frykholm, David Heim, and Elizabeth Palmer—and with young Chicago clergy innovators Erin Brown, Kathryn Ray, and Andrew Packman. They surveyed the landscape of Chicago via a Chicago Architectural Foundation tour on the Chicago River.